While hiking down a trail in central southern Norway, hiker Gøran Olsen stumbled upon an ancient sword dating back to the age of Vikings.
The rusty blade was lying under rocks on a well-travelled path in the mountain village of Haukeli.
After examining the wrought iron weapon, experts believe it dates back to 750 AD, making it more than 1,200-years-old.
“It is unusual to find a sword of this type today,” says Norwegian archeologist Jostein Aksdal. “It was a costly weapon, and the owner must have used it to show power.”
Once the snow clears, Mt Akdal and the local council plan to excavate the area in the hopes of discovery other artefacts.
The sword is in such good condition that it “might be used today if you sharpened the edge,” according to Norway’s County Conservator Per Morten Ekerhovd. “It’s quite unusual to find remnants from the Viking Age that are so well preserved.”
Credit: Hordaland City Council
The Viking Age spanned more than 700 years between 700 AD and the 11th century. Originating from Norway, Sweden and Denmark, the Vikings were feared for their violence.
Viking law required all free men to carry weapons at all times and to always be ready for war. Popular weapons of the time included swords, spears and battle axes.
As well as being used for battles, these weapons were status symbols, often decorated in silver, bronze and copper.
Viking swords were created using “pattern-welding”, which involved forging wrought iron and mild steel. Learn more about this intriguing technique below.